‘He was not there to represent his own views’: Outspoken Sheffield Lord Mayor is slammed for wearing a white poppy to his city’s Armistice Day commemorations
- Magid Magid, 29, accused of using his high office to ‘represent his own views’
- He hit back and said that it was important to stress the concept of ‘never again’
- The white poppy is worn by pacifists who believe the red version glorifies war
- Sheffield’s MP said she was relieved she didn’t ‘have to witness the behaviour’
The Lord Mayor of Sheffield has been slammed for wearing a white poppy instead of the traditional red flower.
Magid Magid has been accused of using his high office to ‘represent his own views’ by wearing the poppy during the city’s Armistice Day commemorations.
The white poppy, which is viewed as controversial by some, is worn by pacifists who believe the red version glorifies war and has become politicised.
Mr Magid defended his decision following a barrage of criticism, adding he believed it important that ‘all victims of war be mourned’, not just British participants.
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The Lord Mayor of Sheffield has been slammed for wearing a white poppy instead of the traditional red flower
Magid Magid has been accused of using his high office to ‘represent his own views’ by wearing the poppy during the city’s Armistice Day commemorations
The mayor’s position was criticised by Angela Smith, Labour MP for Sheffield, who accused Mr Magid of ‘representing ‘his own views’
In a statement to the Yorkshire Post, he added: ‘What the white poppy represents is an unwavering commitment to peace.
‘It is founded upon the idea of Never Again – a concept that is often forgotten and extremely pertinent especially today when bombs and missiles made in Britain continue to cause havoc and ruin in Yemen, Palestine and elsewhere.
‘Central to the white poppy is also the belief that all victims of war should be remembered and mourned. War is destructive and devastating.
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‘While I lay both a red poppy wreath and a white poppy wreath out of duty, I wear my white poppy as a matter of personal principle and consistency for all it represents, and in solidarity with all who are intimidated and bullied for practising their values and beliefs.’
However the mayor’s position was criticised by Angela Smith, Labour MP for Sheffield.
In a tweet, she said: ‘Relieved I didn’t have to witness the behaviour of a Lord Mayor who forgets he is the city’s first citizen. He was not there to represent his own views.’
Mr Magid, who once appeared in the hit TV show Hunted, received plenty of criticism for his views from social media users
Meanwhile, the Sheffield City Council stated that it was ‘normal protocol’ for its lord mayor to wear a red poppy during commemoration events in the area.
Retired British army officer Richard Kemp said: ‘This man has a public duty to wear a poppy whatever his personal feelings.
By wearing a fake poppy he insults the thousands of Sheffield men who made the supreme sacrifice and should be removed from office.’
Twitter user @pistolpete1867 wrote: ‘If he chooses to wear a white poppy in his own time that’s his business.
‘But when representing the city of Sheffield in a remembrance service he should wear the symbol of remembrance which is a red poppy or not take part at all.’
David Scobie added: ‘There’s a time and place for wearing your political symbol but remembrance Sunday is not the time or place.
‘He has disrespected our nation’s war dead. What a idiot of a man.’
Mr Magid, who once appeared in the hit TV show Hunted, also received plenty of support for his views from social media users.
Adam Griffiths tweeted: ‘He is a pacifist so the white poppy shows these beliefs while honouring those who gave their lives.
‘As a Green Party supporter (and fellow pacifist) I couldn’t be prouder of the job @MagicMagid has done as mayor of Sheffield.’
The mayor, 29, made waves when he became the youngest person to be elected to the role for his four-year term, lasting until 2020.
The former refugee came to the UK at the age of five from Burao in northern Somalia (now in Somaliland).
He has since become a popular figure with many in the city, and his outspoken style saw him publicly ban US President Donald Trump from Sheffield.
The white poppy: Controversial from the start
Some veterans believe the white poppy undermines the lasting meaning of the red one
The White Poppy was first introduced by the Women’s Co-operative Guild in 1933 and was intended as a lasting symbol for peace and an end to all wars.
It was was produced by the Co-operative Wholesale Society because the Royal British Legion had refused to be associated with its manufacture.
But many veterans felt that its significance undermined their contribution and the lasting meaning of the red poppy.
Such was the seriousness of this issue that some women lost their jobs in the 1930s for wearing white poppies.
The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), meanwhile, which began producing and distributing the white poppy in association with the Co-operative Women’s Guild in 1934 after falling out with the Legion over the wording of the tribute.
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